The Natural Habitat of Altum Angelfish

The habitats of the altum angelfish were quite different. They were always found in Colombian blackwater rivers such as the Caño Sabanitas near Puerto Inirida or the Rio Atabapo on the border with Venezuela. The water was always highly acidic and had no measurable degrees of hardness. Altums were never to be found in open water, only when they moved from one tree trunk to another did they briefly cross water areas without cover. They were always looking for some kind of cover. Often it was the branches of bushes or trees that had fallen into the water. But sometimes it was also branches and tree trunks without leaves that had been lying in the water for some time. We were able to observe some younger animals in very shallow water depths of around 50 - 80 cm. The large adult specimens preferred depths between 1 and 8 metres. The juvenile altums were often travelling in pairs. Our observations of altums between boulders were very interesting. The scenery was reminiscent of Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika, only in a blackwater environment. Due to their narrow and high-backed body shape, the altums fitted perfectly between the rock crevices! However, it must be emphasised that these observations are only snapshots. It may look completely different in another place at another time.

JBL Expedition - Research & Adventure

Since 2001, the JBL research team has been organising expeditions to the home of aquarium and terrarium animals in order to learn more about their habitats and to be able to breed more species by optimising the aquariums and terrariums. This reduces the number of species taken from the wild, even though it has been proven that capturing the animals does not pose a threat to their population numbers. Biotope analyses include light measurements (lux, UV-A & UV-B and PAR value), water analyses (pH; KH, GH, O2, conductance, temperature, Fe, K, salt density & Ca & Mg in marine water), feeding experiments, behavioural observations, nocturnal observations and documentation of the habitats in photos and videos. One to two years before the start of the expedition, JBL publishes a call for applications from nature enthusiasts on its website. All initial applicants will be selected by lot. In the event of cancellations, repeaters will then move up. On the JBL expeditions there is the great opportunity to observe fish and invertebrates undisturbed in their biotopes while snorkelling. Of course, this is only possible in clear water and blackwater. Whitewater, i.e. rivers often coming from the mountains, are usually unsuitable due to their low visibility. The itinerary is organised in such a way that each participant has as much time as possible to observe animals within their own area of interest. Indigenous people usually help us find the best locations for the fish, e.g. altums or freshwater rays. Some expeditions are relatively inexpensive to organise, others are significantly more expensive due to complicated travel routes or a lack of infrastructure. JBL passes on the price of the trip to the participants from the cooperating travel agency without any surcharge. Almost everyone who has been on a trip before signs up for further expeditions. Everyone seems to have really enjoyed it...


Wild Nature Aquarium is a new format by JBL, showcasing the natural habitats of ornamental fish in small documentaries. We were fielding more and more inquiries asking whether we could present our JBL expedition footage in a more extensive format for publication. The result is now the new documentary series WILD NATURE AQUARIUM. From now on, various fish species' biotopes and native habitats will be regularly showcased. Immerse yourself in the underwater world and discover some fascinating facts about our ornamental fish!

© 26.12.2023
Moritz Schrobenhauser
Moritz Schrobenhauser

Online Marketing, E-Commerce

About me: Tauchen, Aquaristik, Handball


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